Apex man says relatives were dining near El Paso shooting
Posted August 3, 2019 11:18 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2019 2:09 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — The mass shooting in El Paso, Tx. happened just across the street from a restaurant where Allan Thompson worked before moving to North Carolina 12 years ago.
Thompson, who was born and raised in El Paso, spent 24 years in the city and still has 12 family members who still live in the area.
“It’s a punch to the gut,” said Thompson, of the 20 people killed near a popular shopping area. “I’m feeling kind of numb not knowing if all of my friends are okay.”
Thompson says he frequented the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall where officials say the gunman opened fire Saturday morning.
“It’s a busy area, especially on the weekends,” he said. “It's right before school, so a lot of people are in the mall and Walmart doing their pre-school shopping."
Around the time of the shooting, 19 of Thompson’s family members were eating at a restaurant less than a mile away. They sent him a picture to assure him they were all safe.
“That was relieving seeing all of them,” Thompson said. “It’s the unknown of how many of my friends were shopping in that mall? How many of my friends were at that Walmart? How many people that I know are on that casualty list?”
Thompson says El Paso will band together, but it will likely take some time for the scars to heal.
"This is going to be compared to Vegas and all the major shootings in American history, and knowing that's now what El Paso’s claim to fame is going to be for the next few years, it's sad."